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But if you do the math, you find that the aggregate score was 15 13 for Edmonton and that's what counted here. You could argue that every goal Edmonton scored in the second half (all three of them) was "clutch", but in the end only two goals counted in the Money Ballers race: Mark Matthews' go ahead goal in the first quarter, and the game winner in the third, also by Matthews. The first goal was unassisted and the second was assisted by Cory Conway so they were the only players who received Money Baller points in this game.
Western Division champions.
all that Mike Poulin would allow. Similar to Game 2, we only had two Money Baller goals, and they were both scored by the same person. The Calgary Roughnecks became the winners of the first mini game and more importantly for them, the 2014 Nike Blazer High Top Vintage
The number in brackets after a player's name is their ranking in the playoff scoring race.
The first goal in the Rochester mini game took a little longer than in Edmonton, with Joe Resetarits putting the Bandits ahead after over five minutes of scoreless play. Joel McCready tied it up a little over two minutes later, and that was all she wrote for scoring in the mini game. The tie meant that the Eastern Championship came down to sudden death overtime: winner take all. The extra time lasted less than two minutes before Cory Vitarelli sent an innocent looking shot over Anthony Cosmo's left shoulder, ending both the game and the Bandits 2014 season. The Knighthawks managed to recover from losing game one and head to the championship for the third straight year, trying to become the first team to ever win three straight years.
Friday night brought us the first of the two Game 2s, Calgary visiting the Rush in Edmonton's first ever home playoff game. In game 1 last weekend, Edmonton got out to a 4 goal lead and then watched as Calgary came back to tie and eventually win it. In game 2, Edmonton learned their lesson and grabbed a nine goal lead. That oughta do it, right? Well, yes, but just barely. Calgary managed to pull to within one with five minutes left, though they never managed to tie it up. This was like a two game series all in one Edmonton won the first 11 2 and Calgary won the second 11 4.
One administrative note: due to the introduction of the mini game, I've made a change to the Money Ballers points, which are described in the first article of the season. I would say that goals scored in the mini game should count as "clutch", and so I'm giving them the same points as goals scored in the 4th quarter of a regular game. Overtime goals in the mini game are the same as overtime goals in any other game, so that doesn't change.
After winning their divisions and earning a bye in the first round of the playoffs, both the Edmonton Rush and Rochester Knighthawks lost Game 1 of their Division Finals series. The losses required both teams to take full advantage of the home floor in Game 2 to force a Game 3 mini game, and then win that to advance to the National Lacrosse League finals. So in order to have the regular season division winners meet in the final, Rochester had to win two and Edmonton had to win two. To paraphrase the great American poet M. Loaf, three outta four ain't bad unless you're the Rush.
After such a night of exciting lacrosse in Alberta, the two New York teams had a lot to live up to on Saturday. Game 2 began fairly even, with each team scoring four goals including three straight in the first quarter. But Rochester broke it open in the second, scoring 6 of the 7 goals and taking a 10 5 lead into the half. "Pshaw!" you might say, if people ever said such things as "pshaw", "I've seen bigger leads than that vanish in lacrosse games." And you'd be right. But not this time. The Knighthawks only scored three goals in the second half, just as Edmonton did, but managed to hold their lead and force a mini game, just as Edmonton did. And just as Edmonton did, the Knighthawks allowed their opposition to score first. The similarities end there.
Despite being shut out of Money Baller points in game 2, Shawn Evans' go ahead goal and game winner in game 3 netted him 7, giving him the weekly lead and extending his overall lead in the playoffs. Evans now has 19 MB points, only 10 less than he had in the entire regular season. Ryan Benesch finishes the 2014 playoffs with 12.5 points putting him in second place, while Cory Vitarelli's OT heroics put him in third with 11.
Here are the Money Baller standings after the division finals. Nike Foamposite Pro Qs
There are only two weeks left in the 2014 season and two (or three) more games. Every game in the 2014 season has been leading up to the question of who will hoist the Champion's Cup in 2014, and of course that question still remains. But at least now we know the participants in the final series that will decide that question. There will only be one game (and no mini games) next weekend, but it should be a great one.
Following Game 2 was the first ever NLL mini game, a ten minute sort of overtime but not really period that fans have been talking about on social media and message boards and such for months. Love it or loathe it, you gotta admit it was exciting. The first mini game goal only took a couple of minutes, as Shawn Evans put the Roughnecks ahead. Evans scored again a minute later to extend the lead, and that score remained until just under two minutes remaining. Zack Greer scored Edmonton's first mini Nike Basketball Shoes Old Models game goal, cutting the lead in half, but that's Nike Dunk Dover Street Market
Calgary's Shawn Evans extends lead
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